A couple of days ago, Dia, the Deal Mommy found some clothing deals and was kind enough to share them with me, as well as some other tips on brands that generally sell better than others. The first thing I do whenever I see something that might work for reselling, is to head to my handy Amazon Seller Central. I was met with this:
For those folks that haven’t been met with this, all is not lost.
Amazon “Gates” certain product categories for a variety of reasons. They might restrict them due to policy, laws, or because Amazon wants to verify that sellers can source legitimate products consistently. There are a bunch of categories that fall into this area, and “Clothing & Accessories” is one of them. I was going to put a screenshot of the requirements, but, I’m trying to keep this post short and sweet and the requirements are, shall we say, long (like 3 pages long). Some other products are easier.
Getting permission to sell
First of all, Amazon calls this an “ungating request.” Looking at a few other (non-clothing) categories, it looks like there are generally performance targets (defect rate, pre-fulfillment cancel rate, and late shipment rate) that apply less to FBA sellers, because they’re sending the product directly to Amazon first (so it’ll never ship late for example).
The other requirements are to be able to provide acceptable documentation, which usually is an invoice with the pricing blocked out, but with the company that you’re sourcing the products from, and your or your company’s name on the invoice. Below is a screenshot of a screen that I’ve seen a few times for other products (I don’t plan on selling “Beauty” products… But I suppose really that’s in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?).
After you submit the initial request, it becomes a timed chess game. Amazon will respond asking to up to 3 invoices, as I mentioned above and soon, within 2-3 days. They will be particular – just take a look:
If you pass muster, you’re ungated. Otherwise there might be additional requests.
Some pitfalls I’ve noticed
When it comes to documentation, Amazon is pretty specific. They want packing slips or invoices. They do not want online order confirmations, they do not want shipping confirmations. They will be picky, unfortunately. I haven’t gone through many ungating requests, but thus far I’ve only not received approval once (and I’m still working on a strategy to provide sufficient documentation to get them to ungate it).
Just because a product category might be restricted or “gated,” its not cause to just give up. The key though is that you need to limit your risk – so if you don’t have invoices or packing slips for three items, you want to obtain those at the lowest possible cost. Consider it an investment in getting access to sell potentially lucrative products.
7 thoughts on “One of the untold frustrations of Reselling”
And if Amazon falls through, always good old Ebay…
@thedealmommy — good point. I’ve avoided Ebay, but I know of others who have done very well. There’s also Craigslist.
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If you are even considering certain categories it may be a good idea to apply now if you currently meet the performance criteria. It doesn’t take much (e.g., one feedback of 1 or 2) to disqualify you because they typically use a recent period to qualify you, not a longer term (e.g., 1 year or more). Thus one bad feedback in the last 3 or 6 months might disqualify you even if your lifetime feedback would meet the criteria, and you typically just have to wait until it falls off.
@BigHabitat – Great point! The challenge is really the sufficient documentation from an invoice perspective, I think.
How do you get these invoices with your info on them? Do you have to buy from a wholesaler? Ideas?
@Grado – usually I’ll buy a few, I consider it speculative, although I still do my due diligence (so I can sell them when I’m approved). You don’t have to buy from a wholesaler. I’ve done this buying stuff from the usual suspects.