Restrictions for selling on Amazon are one of the biggest annoyances for FBA sellers, regardless of whether you’ve been selling on Amazon although in fact, from what we have seen they actually help to improve our profit margins.
Sometimes Amazon will restrict an entire brand for some sellers. Some examples might be Nike, Cuisinart, or Hasbro. In these cases either Amazon or the brand owner has decided that the entire brand needs to be protected on Amazon, and you will need approval to sell that brand, and I want to walk you through those steps.
Besides, I want to preempt this post with two things:
1) The processes Amazon actually wants you to use.
2) This assumes you are an approved seller by the brand.
Gain Massive Benefits when ungating successfully restricted Brands on Amazon
Brand restrictions are a massive benefit as it allows the brand to control their listing to a large degree. They are able to work with approved sellers to make sure that the products being sold through the Amazon channel are authentic, as well as new current product that matches the description.
This allows the brand to make sure that customers receive the correct product, but more importantly it gives the brand the comfort that those approved sellers are going to help the product succeed within the Amazon platform.
As sellers, it also has a massive benefit…
When sellers are removed, product becomes less competitive which typically means prices increase, as well as sales volume (effectively you are selling more units, because there are less sellers). Hence, more sales and more profit.
Check to see if you’re restricted
At the risk of sounding too basic, the first step in the process needs to be checking to see if you’re even restricted from selling an item on Amazon. Whether you are outsourcing in a retail store or at home looking for items online, you need to check whether or not you’re restricted before you purchase an item to resell. There’s a few ways to check your restrictions.
- Use the Amazon Seller app to scan the barcode of the item.
- Use the Scoutify app to scan the barcode of the item. (This is the app I use for retail arbitrage sourcing; it comes bundled with the InventoryLab listing and accounting program.)
- Use “Add a Product” on the Seller Central website to enter an ASIN or UPC and check your restrictions.
If you check your restrictions and find a button that says “Sell Yours,” then you’re not restricted on the item and you’re free to list it for sale on Amazon. If you get a notification that you are restricted, just keep reading…
Apply for approval to sell the item
The approval process is simple on the Amazon side. In relation to “brand restrictions” Amazon requires your choice of:
3 Invoices from the manufacturer
All invoices must have the following criteria to be considered valid by the Amazon Brand Ungating team.
* Your invoices must be dated in the past 180 days or reflect the delivery or purchase of listed products in the past 180 days.
* Invoices must contain the names of the products purchased.
* Documents must contain your name and contact information for your business (e.g. address, phone number, email or website)
* Documents must contain the issuer’s name, address, phone number and email address or website
Some points that need clarification…
Amazon does NOT need your Amazon “storefront” name to be on the invoice. They need your legal business name, that matches your account information in Seller Central.
Also, in full disclosure, we have not tested this process with distributor invoices. All of the products we have been ungated for have used direct manufacturer invoices. I would presume that distributor invoices would work as well, but can’t verify it. Maybe one of you awesome folks can confirm it for us.
The alternate form of approval is:
– Letter of Authorization from the manufacturer
A letter of authorization simply shows Amazon that you are an approved vendor of the brand. Here are the criteria that a Letter of Authorization must contain to be valid per Amazon’s standards:
* Legible (I am honestly not sure why they mention this, presumably they don’t want handwritten LOA’s)
* Dated within the last 90 Days
* Includes the manufacturer name and contact information
* Includes your legal business name or the name of which corresponds to your Account Information page in Seller Central
* Includes your Physical Address
* Must be in English
It is important to mention that Amazon is INCREDIBLY picky with these. If it is missing even ONE piece you can and likely will be denied. Similarly, if it is not easily identifiable it will be denied.
Diligence and accuracy are the most important parts of this process. Also, it’s important to keep in mind this is exactly HOW Amazon wants you to do things! So, if you are an approved vendor by your brand, enjoy the awesome sales, and don’t worry… you will get approved!