Posted by Alex Jackson on December 28, 2018
There’s no question that today, Amazon marketplace is number one. Savvy retailers want to list their products on Amazon marketplace, however, Amazon is not making this easy. Amazon is demanding high level of quality from sellers as well as products they are selling. The screening process for sellers is unlike anything we saw in the past.The screening process is even more vigorous for gated categories, brands and proper documentation is required before being given the privilege of selling on Amazon marketplace.
Seasoned sellers might remember the old days when all you needed was a product with a UPC, and you could list anything with virtually no effort. Remember the Retail Arbitrage craze? The get rich quick scheme of buying low at your local Walmart to resell high on Amazon later? Sorry, those days are over, Amazon now wants hard facts on what, when and how you source your goods and a Walmart receipt is not going to cut It. The reason behind these new restrictions is fairly clear, it’s about protecting the Amazon brand. To your average consumer, the third-party seller fulfilled order is no different than if Amazon filled the order, so the third-party seller is being held to their same high standards. As a seller, this can be very frustrating, but we are here to help with some pointers on navigating this confusing maze of getting your merchandise posted and sold on Amazon.
Before we get too deep into the subject of gating you need to have a firm understanding of the Amazon platform. Amazon as a selling platform can be quite unforgiving of minor mistakes and site infractions, so you need to spend some serious time reading and understanding their rules before you sell. After all, this is Amazon’s marketplace and they can and will ban you if you don’t follow their rules. If you are just starting in the world of e-commerce, we strongly recommend starting selling on other platforms like eBay, Poshmark and Bonanza to build up your business and your level of experience. There market places are more forgiving and do not hold their sellers to the same standard.
So, what exactly is Amazon looking for with gating of categories and brands? Amazon wants to make sure that goods are genuine and requires most sellers to submit a sample invoice. There are 5 points that Amazon looks for from a seller submitted invoice.
1.The invoice must be dated within the last 180 days.
2.Documents must be valid and unexpired.
3.Documents must be clear and legible, no information other than pricing can be hidden.
4.Documents must have your name and address and must match your seller account.
5.All documents must include issuers name and contact info. (phone, email, website, etc.)
Most of this is fairly straightforward but what they don’t state is that invoices need to be formatted to meet their specific standards. These invoices need to include line listings for each item from the purchase. Further, if you are attempting to gain brand approval, they are looking for 10 or more units of that specific brand on that invoice. It can be any combination of SKU’s but must contain at least 10 units of that brand.
Even if you do meet all of these requirements, there is still no guarantee that Amazon will approve your submission. These invoices are reviewed on a case by case basis and something as simple as the time of submission of the invoice can sometimes make a difference between an invoice being accepted or rejected, so you need to be persistent and keep trying. There are a few other variables that Amazon looks at when considering a request to un-gate a category including your current seller metrics. If you’re already selling on Amazon in an ungated category and maintaining healthy seller metrics, this will increase your chances of approval. Another very simple thing you can and should do before attempting to un-gate a category is to upgrade to a pro-account. This costs you $39.99 per month and would eliminate your $.99 closing fee for individual accounts. So if you're doing 40 plus transactions per month already, it’s time to go pro. We could easily spend days covering all the in’s and outs of the Amazon marketplace, and we will dive deeper in future posts but for right now here are just a few points to consider when trying to unlock the Amazon gate.
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