*As this article becomes more and more outdated, an update on health, beauty, and grocery ungatings can be found here*
If you’ve read much of what I write here or on the Facebook group, you’ve probably seen me advise new sellers that getting approved in Health, Beauty, and Grocery is a key early step in the journey of a successful seller. Here’s why:
- Easy to ungate and all three follow the identical process.
- Very important categories. Health is a really large/popular category and all three are rich with replenishable items. People who buy toothpaste, face cream, or Poptarts from Amazon often do so many times throughout the year.
- They are full of multi-pack opportunities. When you sell multipacks, you only pay the Order Handling Fee and Pick and Pack Fee once, which means your costs are less per item.
- Adding these three categories alone will explode your sourcing potential.
Here’s How to get ungated:
- Make sure your metrics are good (or non-existent!)
- Order defect rate: < 1%
- Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: < 2.5%
- Late shipment rate: < 4%
- Make sure you are registered for the Professional Seller Plan. Anyone who is doing this remotely seriously needs to be on this plan anyway. It pays for itself after 40 sales per month. (If you’re unfamiliar with the distinction, check out Amazon’s explanation)
- You are going to need to submit 3 images that contain receipts (or POs) from purchases within the last 3 month. NOTE: Some Amazon representatives are now telling people the 3 receipts need to be from different stores. Many people have gotten approved with 3 receipts from the same store, but this trend seems to be increasing.
- These receipts need to be itemized (Some dollar store receipt that just has a bunch of prices won’t work).
- These receipts need to have the store’s information (name/address/phone/etc). All major retailers have this.
- These receipts need to show a quantity of items that are not for personal use. I always recommend people use quantity 10 for each item on each receipt. I’ve heard of people being approved with 5 or even 3, but I’ve also heard of people being rejected for those amounts. So, I suggest 10. These can be very inexpensive items ($.25-$1), and in theory you could even return them after you use the receipt. This does NOT need to be a large expense for you. In fact, if you buy profitable items, you can sell them after you’re approved and make money in the process.
- These receipts need to have the prices and your personal payment information blocked out (not required, but recommended by Amazon and you should follow their suggestions).
- Each receipt should have ONE item in the category you’re trying to get approved in (verify it is in the correct category using the Amazon Seller App).
- Pro Tip: You can use the same receipt for multiple applications. So, the most efficient way to do this is to have 3 receipts that each have 1 item for health, beauty, and grocery, each with a quantity of 10.
- Make the job as easy for the customer service rep as possible: I always write the ASIN for the corresponding item, so that they can quickly verify that this item is in the correct category.
- The receipt needs to be an actual receipt. An email version of what you bought does not suffice!
- Some people suggest writing your information (name/address/phone/etc). This is required info on a purchase order, but not a receipt. I have never included this information for any of the people I’ve ungated (and have a 100% success rate), but you never know when an Amazon rep might go off script and want it. It doesn’t hurt to add it.
Let’s look at an example receipt I used to get someone ungated a few months ago:
- This customer only needed health, but if they needed beauty and grocery, I would have items on this receipt for both of those.
- This image is NOT ideal. Notice how it is a bit blurry. Sometimes this will get you rejected. Try to take good quality pictures or just scan them.
- The store name, address, phone number are all clearly visible.
- I have a quantity that is not for personal use.
- I make notes to make their job as easy as possible. It shows the category, the ASIN, and the quantity.
- I have blacked out all other information.
- I submitted two other receipts that look very similar to this.
Next, you need to be logged into your seller account and go to Amazon’s page listing categories that require approval. Find the category that you want to apply for, click to view requirements, and then click to request approval. It’s suggested that you garner the receipts before starting the application, because they will be necessary before you can complete the submission (Did you see how I secretly slipped my last name into that sentence? I’m sure some guru would say it’s crucial for brand development!).
- Make sure that you check that you intend to sell new products.
- I always check 101-1000 products, but I don’t think this question matters at all.
- Your products need to have UPCs unless they are your own and you have registered them with Amazon. 99%+ people need to select ‘My products have UPCs.’
After proceeding to the next screen, you’ll have to answer a few questions about you/your business and you’ll be ready to submit your application.
I have anecdotal evidence that submitting at night makes the process go a bit smoother, but don’t let that stop you from applying. After you submit your application a file will be created in your case log. You can find out whether you’ve been approved in this section. Also, if there is a problem with your application, they will usually tell you what needs to be corrected (for example, if you used a blurry picture like I did, they may want to see another copy).
If you go through this process and run into any hurdles, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you through the process. With some time, this process can be completed by anyone virtually free of cost! I strongly advise you to get approved in these categories.
As Always, Best Wishes